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Control Surfaces

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Control Surfaces

Postby Dave B » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:52 pm

On my list of changes to the studio this year is to replace my decrepit and Cubase-only Houston with something a little more modern. I'm just curious as to what other people use / suggest. I would quite like to have something tactile to use when controlling both Cubase4 and Logic9 (on OSX 10.5 and 10.6 respectively). Have I missed something obvious? Or should I just bite the bullet and blow out on a Euphonix..? Are people still buying Mackie Controls?

All info / comments welcome....
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby The Red Bladder » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:32 pm

None of the above. Get the A&H GSR24.
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:38 pm

Option 5, plus...

Frontier Alphatrack!
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby Bob Moose » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:31 pm

Just wanted to mention the Behringer BCF2000 as an inexpensive but perfectly usable motorized control surface. I don't have it at home, but borrowed one for a few days. Maybe the only complaint I could have was the noise of the motors, but seriously it was not a problem for me.

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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby John Willett » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:59 pm

You missed off control via an iPad.
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby Mixedup » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:19 pm

There's also the old Mackie d8B with the latest software (third party thing, can't remember what it's called) that turns it into a 24/25-track control surface!

Do you need faders? I found that mapping the 32 controls of a Behringer BCR controller worked really well - 32 'faders' to hand; switch it and have 32 panpots to hand.

...though I reckon you should jsut man up and learn to use the mouse
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby chris... » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:12 pm

I'm a fan of the MC Mix - now have three plus an MC Transport.

I haven't bothered getting the MC Control, as I don't quite see the point. (Think Max sees it differently - so I'm probably missing sommat). Have a feeling anyone who's used an iPad may find the touchscreen a wee bit disappointing. Personally I'm not trying to work entirely avoiding the computer - I really just want decent faders (MC Mix). And the MC Transport gives me plenty of additional programable keys.

Got most of these units off eBay, where they come up at semi-reasonable prices.

I should say I'm specifically using the MC Mixes to mix. They can also control softsynth plugins, but as far as I know you can't choose or reorder the controlled plugin parameter set, making this less useful. The MC Control might have more flexibility in this area (or it might not - I don't know). I'm mostly using Novation Nocturn + automap for controlling softsynths at the present.


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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby JPH » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:46 am

None of the above. Try a Tascam US2400.... if you can find one (providing you're never going to use Lion)

Or go the whole hog and get a Nucleus.
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby . . . Delete This User . . . » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:46 am

1) love the MC mix/control combo.


2) also love the iPad & AC7 replacing a mackie control.....


3) rather like the nucleus too.....

and other toys.....



but head and wallet says iPad and AC7
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby czar » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:05 am

don't forget presonus faderport thats what I use. But rarely, too use to mixing with the mouse. really handy for manual automation though
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby ConcertinaChap » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:43 am

Worth mentioning that the Mackie Control (not the later Pro) goes for a couple of hundred quid on ebay and has identical functionality to the Pro.

Idris Y Draig wrote: also love the iPad & AC7 replacing a mackie control.....


That's probably the wave of the future, tablet plus app emulating a control surface.

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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby Dave B » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:33 am

Some nice (and one barmy) suggestions - thanks.

US2400? Yes please ... it's just a case of tracking one down ...

Nucleus? (tongue hangs out of mouth and drool escapes) Sadly, I can't justify the three and a half grand... and I do mean sadly...

iPad ... yeah .. whilst it may be the future, I'm not convinced. Sadly my MacPro has no wireless (although maybe I should sort that out) which would make things a little more complicated. Do like the 'remote control' idea as I have to get up from system to do vox. hmmnnn

Original Mackie .. not thought of that - nice one. My only concern would be the lack of usb but that's just a niggle.

MC Mix + Transport was actually my original idea - good to see great minds think alike. And with them both being black now it would look very slick

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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby Mixedup » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:18 am

I'm still feeling no love for the iPad approach. Versatile yes, but the lack of tactile feedback means you have to look at it while moving faders etc. It's a problem for me with all touch-screen approaches to this particular issue, great as they are for other things.

Similar lack of love for the Faderport and similar one-fader devices. They don't seem to offer me anything that a mouse scroll wheel and QWERTY keyboard doesn't.
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby sambrox » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:47 am

+1

I've tried the iPad & AC7 approach and it just doesn't cut it. There's too much lag and you spend too much time looking at the screen trying to find the faders. The novelty soon wore off, I'm afraid. I'm lucky enough to have the SSL Nucleus and it's sped up my workflow like nothing else, when it comes to mixing. It's so much more handy to have multiple faders when trying to find a balance. Having to adjust individual track levels one at a time with a mouse and keyboard takes much much longer, and I reckon the same must go for something like the Faderport.

Just my two-penneth
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby ConcertinaChap » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:01 am

Mixedup wrote:I'm still feeling no love for the iPad approach. Versatile yes, but the lack of tactile feedback means you have to look at it while moving faders etc. It's a problem for me with all touch-screen approaches to this particular issue, great as they are for other things.

Good point. That would rather swannee second-hand Jazzmutants as well.

CC
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby . . . Delete This User . . . » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:42 am

hmmmm.....


do you guys also look at your instruments while playing them????


it takes practice, and confidence.... and besides which, when mixing, what does it matter what you look at.... it's what you're listening to that matters.,....


if you can't do it without concentrating on it visually, then you're not doing enough of it.......

(and / or your working practice needs attention.... for example, if you are consistent about logical grouping of faders, then with practice comes speed , thanks to "KNOWING" instinctively , where the fader is for the source in question..... without having to go look for it.... no matter where you are mixing, or on what system. )



i would however , cheerfully confirm the gorgeousness of the Artist series things...... okay, it's no series 5, but it's a helluva lot nicer than anything mackie ever made.... it's not like anyone is going to give you a hard time about it Dave, so why the hell not.....

(they can be a little flaky, if not getting things set up "just so" , they basically require the network to work just the way they want it, or they can throw the odd wobbler.... BUT..... this is no real biggy.... it happens just occasionally, and is easy to fix..... and keep fixed..... )






and as to the idea of picking up a used mackie..... after my experiences trying to get spares from mackie for a number of things , (controllers, speakers, both PA and studio, and mixers , digital or analogue... ) i wouldn't touch one with a bargepole. anyone's bargepole, never mind one of my best mates'....




and i'm reminding Dave that his second Houston is at my place....
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby ConcertinaChap » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:43 pm

Idris Y Draig wrote:hmmmm.....

do you guys also look at your instruments while playing them????


Hmmmm back. I don't look at my concertina when I'm playing it (the nature of the instrument is such that I wouldn't see anything useful if I did), but I can feel when my fingers hit the buttons or not. If all I had were flat, blank plates (probably possible with touch sensitive electronics and MIDI) the only way I'd know if my fingers were in the right place was if I heard the right sound - perfectly possible but a lot more difficult to learn.

I suspect (without having tried it) that Mixedup is right in suggesting this would be true of tablets and Lemurs/Dexters. It's doable but more awkward and tricksy. Why bother?

CC

Edited to add PS: Why bother? Cost of course. That's the reason tablets are the future here. But I can't see that it will make them better than my Control Pro.
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby sambrox » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:00 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:
Idris Y Draig wrote:hmmmm.....

do you guys also look at your instruments while playing them????

Hmmmm back. I don't look at my concertina when I'm playing it (the nature of the instrument is such that I wouldn't see anything useful if I did), but I can feel when my fingers hit the buttons or not. If all I had were flat, blank plates (probably possible with touch sensitive electronics and MIDI) the only way I'd know if my fingers were in the right place was if I heard the right sound - perfectly possible but a lot more difficult to learn.

I suspect (without having tried it) that Mixedup is right in suggesting this would be true of tablets and Lemurs/Dexters. It's doable but more awkward and tricksy. Why bother?

CC

Edited to add PS: Why bother? Cost of course. That's the reason tablets are the future here. But I can't see that it will make them better than my Control Pro.

Agreed on the cost. As it stands, however, the gains you get from using a touch-screen control surface are still relatively small . Until Apple implement some kind of standard data exchange between iPad and Logic/whatever DAW that boosts accuracy and speed and cuts down on lag and bugs, AC 7 and its like won't offer a serious professional alternative to dedicated hardware controllers, in my opinion.
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby Mixedup » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:01 pm

Idris Y Draig wrote:do you guys also look at your instruments while playing them????

Hmmm indeed.

It's traditional when making comparisons to compares apples with apples. So... if the means of interfacing with an instrument (eg synths on iOS etc) is a touch screen, then yes I have to look at them for at least some of the time. (I suspect that I'm alone in wanting to look at a device that's designed to give visual feedback, particularly when there's no tactile feedback.) If it is a more traditional interface, like an electric guitar or piano keyboard, where I can feel the instrument and respond to it, then generally I don't need to look.

Similarly, I don't look at the QWERTY keyboard when typing. There are useful little ridges on the F and J, and a dot on the numeric keypad to help me find/keep my place, and my fingers can glide across keys and know exactly when I've depressed them. If I were typing this post on a touchscreen keyboard it would take me rather longer to do and be rather more frustrating, partly because I couldn't feel what I was doing, and partly due to the imperfect interface that is the touch-screen — grease, dust, hardened finger tips from playing guitar and bass... and many more things besides can mean that a touch screen doesn't react quite how you would wish it every time, even if the software is well designed.

So, as far as I'm concerned, for mixing:

• physical controls = very useful, if you prefer not to work solely with the mouse.

• Mouse/trackpad/trackball is irreplacable for fine-detail work.

• Touch-screen controllers = useful for some things (given their versatility and small footprint), but rather poorer at other things (like managing banks of faders and pan pots).
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Re: Control Surfaces

Postby jaminem » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:06 pm

the stop and play buttons of my Steinberg TP controller.

and a mouse + ctrl c, ctrl v and x

that is all
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